I had a pen explode in my lab coat pocket yesterday -- a tragedy, I know. At the end of the day, as I was leaving the office carrying my lab coat home to be washed, one of the other docs said, "I don't know why you still wear that thing. None of us feel the need to wear lab coats anymore. Do you think you're still a resident?"
He was joking, of course, and then we had a short discussion on the the philosophy of a doctor wearing a lab coat while seeing patients in the office. From my perspective, I like my lab coat. Not only is it fashionable, it is practical. I'm able to carry my stethoscope, my prescription pad, a couple of pocket-sized reference books, and a pen (when it doesn't explode).
His points were that the lab coat can make a physical and emotional barrier between you and the patient which can hinder communication. And, it's difficult to continually keep a long white coat clean (I conceded that point).
I'm kind of curious, what do you think? What's your preference? Lab coat or no?
(Notice the new blog title? Why? Leave a comment to find out...)